This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) overturned the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP), a rule that regulates welfare standards for farmed animals whose meat can be sold as “organic.” The Obama-era rule was created in 2016 after lengthy lobbying from a number of groups, including animal-rights organizations, to implement better standards for farmed animals, which included the freedom for chickens to spread their wings and for other farmed animals to have access to the outdoors. The USDA delayed voting on the implementation of OLPP three times and ultimately overturned it despite nearly 47,000 consumer comments in support of expanding protections for farmed animals.“This is a case of the fox guarding the henhouse,” Lindsay Wolf, Vice President of Investigations for animal-rights group Mercy For Animals, told VegNews. “The government officials responsible for regulating the agricultural industry are bending over backwards to protect corporate agribusiness profits at the expense of animals, food safety, and workers’ rights. As a result, millions of farmed animals are being deprived of the benefit of modest laws and regulations designed to protect their welfare and promote the public interest.” Earlier this month, the Trump Administration overturned an Obama-era ban on importing elephant remains as “trophies” from regions such as Zimbabwe and Zambia.
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